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Furman Wins SoCon Regular Season Championship With 4-3 Victory Over ETSU

Ansley Speaks
Ansley Speaks

JOHNSON CITY, TENN. – Freshman Katarina Weymouth outlasted Regina Nychytailova, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, at flight two singles Saturday to help Furman to a 4-3 victory over ETSU at the Dave Mullins Tennis Complex in Johnson City, Tenn.  With the win, the Paladins captured the Southern Conference regular season championship, Furman's 18th overall and first since 2014.

Furman swept the doubles to open the match.  Junior Ansley Speaks teamed with Weymouth for a 6-4 win over Lyn Yee Choo and Ana Gerbasi at flight one, and rookie Gabby Rodriguez and junior Blair Martin beat Ioanna Markesini and Marina Espana, 6-4, at flight two.  In the third-seeded match-up, sophomore Harper Caswell and junior Karlee Bryde defeated Melissa Esguerra and Regina Nychytailova, 7-5.

In singles action, Esguerra evened the score at 1-1 with a 6-3, 6-2 win versus Bryde at flight four, then the Paladins took a 3-1 lead as Speaks toped Choo, 6-1, 6-3, at number one, and Caswell came from behind for a 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 advantage against Gerbasi at number six.

The Bucs tied the score at 3-3 when Markesini posted a 7-6, 6-4 victory over Martin at number three, then Esguerra outlasted Rodriguez, 6-3, 1-6, 6-1, at flight five to set up the decisive flight two contest.

"Today's match was an absolute battle, and we give ETSU a lot of credit," said Furman first-year head coach Adam Herendeen.  "They are a well-coached team and have had an excellent season.  Our girls showed so much heart and fight all the way down the lineup, and this was our most complete match of the year.  These girls continue to step up to every challenge that we put in front of them and have been a blast to work with.  We will enjoy this win today and then get back to work getting ready for the SoCon tournament next week!"

The Paladins (14-8, 7-0 SoCon) enter next weekend's SoCon Championships as the No. 1 seed and will face No. 8 Western Carolina Friday at 1 p.m. at The Champions Club in Chattanooga, Tenn.  The winner will take on either No. 4 Samford or No. 5 Wofford on Saturday at 2 p.m.  Sunday's championship match will begin at 1 p.m.

Furman leads the SoCon with 16 Southern Conference Tournament championships after winning the program's last championship in 2008.

Furman 4, East Tennessee State 3
Apr 16, 2016 at Johnson City, Tenn. (Dave Mullins Tennis Complex)

Singles competition

1. Ansley Speaks (FUR) def. Lyn Yee Choo (ETSU) 6-1, 6-3

2. Katarina Weymouth (FUR) def. Regina Nychytailova (ETSU) 6-4, 2-6, 6-4

3. Ioanna Markesini (ETSU) def. Blair Martin (FUR) 7-6, 6-4

4. Marina Espana (ETSU) def. Karlee Bryde (FUR) 6-3, 6-2

5. Melissa Esguerra (ETSU) def. Gabby Rodriguez (FUR) 6-3, 1-6, 6-1

6. Harper Caswell (FUR) def. Ana Gerbasi (ETSU) 2-6, 6-4, 6-1


Doubles competition

1. Ansley Speaks/Katarina Weymouth (FUR) def. Lyn Yee Choo/Ana Gerbasi (ETSU) 6-4

2. Gabby Rodriguez/Blair Martin (FUR) def. Ioanna Markesini/Marina Espana (ETSU) 6-4

3. Harper Caswell/Karlee Bryde (FUR) def. Melissa Esguerra/Regina Nychytailova (ETSU) 7-5


Match Notes

Furman 14-8, 7-0 SoCon

East Tennessee State 17-2, 6-1 SoCon

Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (4,1,6,3,5,2)

T-2:57 A-121